There are countless inexpensive ways to add extra storage to your PC, but if you want the fastest and most reliable performance around, you’ll probably want to have a decent internal option. Whether you’re looking to archive old projects for work, store your Steam gaming library, or create a media server, an internal hard drive is going to be a pretty important consideration.
While the distinctions from hard drive to hard drive aren’t going to be that great, there is a distinct difference between a run-of-the-mill internal hard drive and the best internal hard drives on the market. We’ve picked 10 of our favorite internal hard drive models – and in addition to providing reviews for each, we’ll also offer some smart shopping advice.
TL;DR - 10 Best Internal Hard Drives:
- Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive
- WD Purple 8TB Surveillance Internal Hard Drive
- Seagate FireCuda 2TB Solid State Hybrid Drive
- HGST Travelstar 7K1000 1TB Internal Hard Drive
- Toshiba X300 4TB Internal Hard Drive
- WD Blue 4TB PC Hard Drive
- Seagate IronWolf 6TB NAS Internal Hard Drive HDD
- Toshiba N300 14TB NAS Internal Hard Drive
- Seagate Exos X16 14TB Internal Enterprise Hard Drive
- G-Technology 4TB G-Drive Mobile USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive
1. Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive
The Middle of the Road Standard
The Seagate BarraCuda Pro regularly makes it onto our best-of lists, and for good reason. Seagate has been delivering some of the best hard drives in terms of reliability for some time now, and their quality hasn't dropped yet. The Seagate BarraCuda is easy to unpack and plugs easily into your computer case, and it offers transfer speeds that aren't the best around but aren't a slouch either.
Pair that with the ability for the Seagate BarraCuda to offer some pretty hefty storage at a very small cost, and the result is a workhorse that will serve you for a long time to come.
2. WD Purple 8TB Surveillance Internal Hard Drive
A Solid Security Solution
The Western Digital Purple is designed to address a very specific (but very important) issue: security. It may be a little pricey, but it's more than reasonable when you realize this internal hard drive is designed for the surveillance systems of larger properties. Up to 64 high-definition cameras can be attached to the same drive, so it's conceivably the only local storage you'll need even for a larger office building.
It even makes use of specialized technology that can help improve the accuracy and clarity of your cameras. This hard drive is also designed to always be on and to withstand extreme temperatures.
3. Seagate FireCuda 2TB Solid State Hybrid Drive
Speed and Capacity in One Package
The Seagate FireCuda delivers exactly what gamers want: a hybrid solution that pairs the high storage capacity of a traditional hard drive with the fast loading speeds (and quieter performance) of a solid-state drive. It's not going to be as fast as an SSD, but it's a very budget-oriented alternative particularly well suited to a gaming PC.
But the Seagate Firecuda is more than just an ordinary hybrid hard drive. The Seagate FireCuda is built for low power consumption, and it also comes with multi-tier caching technology that lets you squeeze the best performance out of your transfer speeds.
4. HGST Travelstar 7K1000 1TB Internal Hard Drive
Rugged and Durable Design
HGST is still far from a household name, but they consistently produce some of the best hardware in the industry. The Travelstar is comfortingly ordinary - eschewing special features in favor of a hard drive that's resistant to shock damage, low on power usage, and offered at an appealingly low price.
In other words, HGST does a great job of shoring up the inherent weaknesses of a traditional hard drive, and it's maybe the best budget model we've seen for laptops.
5. Toshiba X300 4TB Internal Hard Drive
Huge Bang for Your Buck
The Toshiba X300 offers a whole lot of capacity for not a whole lot of money. In fact, this internal hard drive starts at 4 terabytes and only goes up from there. But regardless of what model you get, you can count on it to provide you with some exceptional transfer rates and a sizable amount of space devoted to caching.
The shock durability here is also well above average, and drive stabilization technology allows for a lower risk of damage. That reliability is a big selling point in an internal hard drive, and this one is ideal for gamers and workstations alike.
6. WD Blue 4TB PC Hard Drive
The Western Digital Blue has been a comforting presence in the hard drive market for years, but it wouldn't be here after all this time if Western Digital didn't know how to perform. Free software helps you make an easy and safe backup of your machine, and most customers can get more storage than they could ever need for less than a hundred bucks.
But Western Digital hasn't made its reputation on pricing alone. Western Digital offers solid reliability, and if you want a no-fuss hard drive that you can count on to do its job, you'll find it here.
7. Seagate IronWolf 6TB NAS Internal Hard Drive HDD
Sometimes a name can tell you a lot about a product. The Seagate IronWolf is about as tough an internal hard drive as you could hope for, although you'll pay a little bit extra for that privilege. It's built for NAS enclosures and can work especially well in an office environment between multiple users.
That focus on advanced workstations is further strengthened by IronWolf Health Management - an integrated system that ensures the security and long life of your device. This is definitely a case where paying extra can pay dividends in the long term.
8. Toshiba N300 14TB NAS Internal Hard Drive
For businesses in need of reliable storage that can be accessed online but also restricted by user, a NAS HDD is definitely the way to go. The Toshiba N300 comes with a ton of storage space for not a lot of money, and that value only improves as you move to the higher capacity models of this internal hard drive.
The security here is actually quite impressive, even by the standards of a NAS internal hard drive. RV sensor technology lets it compensate to minimize blunt force, and there are decent heat mitigation features to keep everything cool.
9. Seagate Exos X16 14TB Internal Enterprise Hard Drive
Seagate delivers time and again, and the Exos X16 is no exception. Ideal as a data center for larger enterprises, this 3.5-inch HDD offers a throughput of 6Gb/s and storage of up to 18TB to provide long-lasting storage for a whole host of users.
It also features PowerBalance to optimize the Watts per TB as well as helium side-sealing weld technology to give it an additional level of robustness.
10. G-Technology 4TB G-Drive Mobile USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive
If you want to upgrade the storage on your Mac machine, the G-Drive from G-Technology is an obvious choice. It's built with support for both FileVault and Time Machine, providing you with the best and most painless way to backup your data and archive all of your important files.
But these hard drives aren't just for Macs. Since they include support for both USB Type-C and USB Type-A, they can work comfortably with any laptop or desktop on the market. And since they can fit comfortably in your pocket, they can work just as well as portable hard drives.
Internal Hard Drives Buyer’s Guide
External hard drives are cheaper, smaller, and more accessible than ever before, but internal hard drives still offer a level of reliability that makes them worth the extra effort. Whether you’re looking to replace the hard drive for your laptop or desktop, there’s a focus right now on building computers that make upgrades accessible to even the less tech-literate. And since they’re connected directly to your computer’s hardware, you can set up more regularly scheduled backups of your data with internal hard drives.
Hard Disk Format
There are three formats to look for when shopping for hard drives. An HDD is a more traditional design with a format that hasn’t changed much in decades. They dominate our list of the best hard drives because they tend to be very cheap while offering incredibly large storage capacities. That said, they’re the slowest hard drives around, and they’re more prone to damage, so they’re among the best hard drives for a stationary desktop.
SSDs (Solid State Drives) are more or less absent from this list, but they’re quickly becoming one of the most common types of hard drives around. These drives are expensive and offer less storage capacity. They’re a great choice for gamers, but since capacity is a bigger deal for internal hard drives, we haven’t focused our attention on them here.
Hybrid drives combine the best aspects of both an HDD and SSD. By making use of both in a single system, hybrid drives give you fast loading speeds for content along with an above-average storage capacity. The one downside is that these aren’t the best hard drives in any one category. Instead, they offer a balance between speed and capacity.
Read and write speeds tell you how quickly hard drives can process data, and that has an impact on how fast your computer’s CPU can process content. For this list, we’ve made use of a simplified measurement known as rotations per minute. That raw speed can give you a pretty solid indicator of how well drives will get and process information. The best hard drives generally offer an RPM of 7200, which translates to maximum write speeds of about 160 MB/s.
How much write speeds matter is going to depend on what you tend to use your computer for. While the faster speeds you can find with an SSD or a higher-speed HDD can be the best choice for games and other software that requires a lot of processing power, drives with very fast speeds won’t be a necessity for average casual or office use.
Form factor is a pretty easy thing to quantify. The bigger the form factor, the more space it takes up. For that reason, 2.5-inch hard drives are most commonly used in laptops, while 3.5-inch hard drives can be significantly more high capacity, but they’re often the best hard drives to get for a desktop computer.
Finding the best internal hard drive for computers can have a major impact on your performance, and it doesn’t have to cost you much money, but you’ll need to do your research. We’ll keep updating our list as new products are released, so keep checking back whenever you need the best of the best hard drives.If you liked our article on internal hard drives, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.